Thursday, May 7

Elizabeth Mayhew: Q & A

Judging by the responses yesterday it’s seems that many of you have flipped for Elizabeth Mayhew too! It’s hard not to love a book that combinations beautiful interiors and practical advice. Add in a sprinkling of timesaving “reality checks” and tips for quick jolts of style and you truly have the perfect little book. I think you will find Elizabeth's answers to be as delightful as the woman herself.

How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my style as eclectic and personal. I love rooms to have an interesting mix of old and new, warm and cool, strait-edged and round, etc. I am not partial to overly "decorated rooms"-- I like rooms that feel like they have come together overtime and are NOT perfect. I have always been more inspired by European interiors and designers like Frederic Mechiche.

Which talent would you most like to possess?
I wish I were more tech savvy. I am a materialist (in the best sense of the word), I like to hold and touch things, and so it is hard for me to fully grasp the magic of an iPhone!

What do you consider your greatest achievement
By far my greatest achievement is raising (with my husband of 16 years of course!) our two children. They are smart, well-behaved, funny, and outgoing kids--something to be very proud of these days.

What is your most prized possession?
In my house my most prized possession is probably my art. I have a collection of contemporary works from artists that I love and admire: Kara Walker, Candida Hofer, Thomas Flechtner, Seton Smith, Marcel Dzma, Adam Fuss—to name a few.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Coffee. I recently purchased a commercial Lavassa espresso maker...I now jump up out of bed every morning and rush to make my latte!

Who are your style icons?
The aforementioned Frederic Mechiche and of course Dorothy Draper.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
I am a huge reader (you can see books all over my apartment--I splurged on tons of built-in bookcases) and my bedside table is largely made up of stacks of books. I read mostly fiction...historical fiction is my favorite (If you haven't read the Josephine B series by Sandra Gulland then I suggest you do!).

Another must read is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman--an amazing, life changing piece of non fiction. Right now I am reading: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. And the book I always have nearby: Pride and Prejudice.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I have been incredibly lucky in my career to work with amazingly talented people and I would love to gather them all together for one project or another. To name a few: Marian McEvoy, Dara Caponigro, Olga Naiman, Frouwkje Pagani, Amanda Potters, Mary Elizabeth Lawrence, Anita Calero, Nora Sheehan, Vanessa Holden, Matthew Sporzynski, Matthew Gleason, Chip Cordelli, Tori Mellott, Dan Shaw, and many others—the list could go on and on....

Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
The person who has most influenced my direction in life is my mother. She is the most talented person I know. Everything I do is derived from what she does or did--the main difference between us is that I figured out how to make a career out of her/our talents.

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
I would love to have met Juilia Child. Most people don't know that I originally started my career in the food department of House Beautiful (I had catered a party for someone who worked at the magazine, which is how I got my foot in the door).

I love to cook and have read everything about and by Julia Child. She was a pioneer in every sense of the word. I would love to spend the day in her kitchen (now permanently installed at the Smithsonian) just cooking and talking over a hot stove.

You still have until Tuesday, May 12, 2009 to win a copy of FLIP! for Decorating. Simply leave a comment or send an email to: (subject: FLIP!). And, did I mention that is only $16.32 through Amazon!

Profile by Ronda Carman
Photo Credit Annie Schlechter


Anne said...

I am loving these photos. Happy to see the drapes up close.

Jay said...

Sounds like a perfect book.

pve design said...

I love that Elizabeth would want to spend a day in the kitchen with Julia Child. I recently made the "roquefort balls" - a Julia recipe and they are to flip over! Elizabeth has such personality in her smile!

Mindy Lockard said...

I love that she counts raising well-behaved, smart, funny and outgoing children as her greatest accomplishment. That's a smart woman!

abby jenkins said...

Can't wait to get her book...feel like I know her, my good friends Eddie Ross and Chip Cordelli rave about her!

Shandell's said...

Great interview, the video of Flip decorating was on Rural Intelligence, absolutely great. Dan Shaw is also one of my favorites. Her sense of style is refreshing.

Karena said...

Terrific interview! I love that she loves contemporary art and yes;The Josephind B series, you will be up late reading...excellent!

Marion said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Can't wait to read it.
Marion from Ky said...

I'd love to add it to my night stand!

Plush Palate said...

I loved reading through the interview! Thank you for your thoughtful questions to her. FLIP is definitely on my wishlist!

wide open spaces said...

the green drapes are so perfect, so fantastic. LOVE.

A "cheery" disposition said...

Love those green curtains!

Margaret D. said...

LOL! My bedside table looks like that, too - though not quite as neat. Sandra Gulland is one of my favorite authors. I've reviewed her first Josephine novel at and her latest novel, about one of Louis XIV's mistresses and a white horse, at

THE DB FILES said...

We have flipped too! Can't wait to see the book - we will absolutely have to buy it, even it we don't win a copy!

Brillante Interiors said...

Great personality and I love her style. A good cook is also an artist who requires knowledge of balance, colour, harmonious blending of old and new and knowing when to I perhaps talking also about a designer?

Unknown said...

So clean and fresh. Great interview too and adding another great book to my source library is always a plus! Great post.

elizabeth mayhew said...

For those bed is from Niermann Weeks:

annechovie said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this Q&A with Elizabeth, Ronda. I can relate to her love of Julia Child (her kitchen at the Smithsonian was my favorite attraction there) and admire Elizabeth's style. Thank you! Hope you both have a lovely Mother's Day!

Unknown said...

Well, I just finished 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog', loved that book! And I would not mind winning the 'Flip' book either.
Great interview!